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The ‘Splainer

The ’Splainer: Why is Jerusalem’s Temple Mount so disputed?

By Lauren Markoe — July 24, 2017

(RNS) — The Temple Mount is the holiest place for Jews and the third holiest for Muslims. Why is it a launching pad for violence?

The ’Splainer: What is Transcendentalism?

By Kimberly Winston — July 12, 2017

(RNS) The author of ‘Walden; or, Life in the Woods,’ who was born 200 years ago this week, was a Transcendentalist. Let us ‘Splain . . .

The ’Splainer: What is the Blaine Amendment and did SCOTUS kill it?

By Kimberly Winston — June 28, 2017

(RNS) Who was Blaine and would he have wanted to prevent a Midwestern day care center from padding the ground below its swingset and slide? Let us ’Splain . . . .

The ’Splainer: What is Laylat al-Qadr, Muslims’ ‘Night of Destiny’?

By Aysha Khan — June 20, 2017

(RNS) It’s the holiest night of the year for Muslims.

The ’Splainer: What is the Ayatollah Khomeini mausoleum and why was it attacked?

By Shenaz Kermalli — June 7, 2017

(RNS) The mausoleum is one of the most important symbols of Iranian pride. It’s famously referred to within Iran as ‘the holy shrine.’

The ’Splainer: Who is Our Lady of Fatima and what is the ‘Third Secret’?

By David Gibson — May 10, 2017

(RNS) Pope Francis will be the fourth pontiff to visit the famous Marian shrine in Portugal, and one of millions who travel there each year. What is the attraction?

The ’Splainer: What is the Johnson Amendment and why did Trump target it?

By Kimberly Winston — May 4, 2017

(RNS) Many religious leaders were eager to see this 1954 law weakened. Others wanted to see it preserved.

The ’Splainer: What is female genital mutilation, and what does it have to do with Islam?

By Aysha Khan — April 27, 2017

(RNS) This week, two Muslim doctors were indicted in a high-profile genital mutilation case in Michigan, where a lawmaker cited it in an attempt to introduce anti-Shariah legislation.

The ’Splainer: Who are the Copts and why are they persecuted?

By Yonat Shimron — April 11, 2017

(RNS) The Copts are the largest Christian community in North Africa and the Middle East and are one of the oldest Christian sects in the world.

The ’Splainer: Why won’t Mike Pence eat alone with a woman who is not his wife?

By Kimberly Winston — March 30, 2017

(RNS) Pence’s practice, highlighted in a recent Washington Post story, stems from a 1948 meeting in Modesto, Calif., between Billy Graham and three of his closest male friends.

The ’Splainer: What is the Free Speech Fairness Act?

By Kimberly Winston — February 6, 2017

(RNS) Legislation introduced in Congress aims to ‘restore’ religious liberty in the pulpit. Will it? Let us ‘Splain …

The ‘Splainer: Does Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ flout the law?

By Lauren Markoe — February 2, 2017

(RNS) Plaintiffs argue that the president’s executive order amounts to religious discrimination. But whether they’ll be able to convince the courts is an open question.

The ’Splainer: What is Epiphany?

By Kimberly Winston — January 5, 2017

(RNS) You thought the holidays were over. Technically, no — not until Jan. 6, when Christians all over the world celebrate Epiphany.

The ‘Splainer: Advent, not just another Christmas countdown

By Emily McFarlan Miller — December 2, 2016

(RNS) Advent has its own songs and symbols and traditions, distinct from Christmas.

Gluttony and the Seven Deadly Sins

By Kimberly Winston — November 22, 2016

(RNS) On Thanksgiving, Americans will try not to make total gluttons of themselves. But why? Why is gluttony considered a danger not only to the body, but the soul?

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